Last update: July 10, 2015
“I am an expert on the shadow that I have been, the imprint of the distance that has marked my life and I still do not understand the purpose of my existence. Who brought us here?
Years go by and I change according to where the wind blows, I change according to my successes, and when I need it most I pray more so that what they told me is true. I cling to an image, to the guide, to the pillar that bears my weight, without realizing that I am sinking it into the cold and hard earth.
The days become infinite and the nights eternal, I wish I had the energy of a comet, even if I would be satisfied with the star. Why does fate make us suffer? And, sadder, why does my destiny have to make others suffer? Maybe I should be alone, but my selfishness prevents me, I need to cover myself with arms, to warm myself with the beating of a heart and to feel the wind of the breath of a friend soul.
Pain, they taught me, must be avoided, I must escape it, deny it. However, the pain returns, stronger and stronger and does not leave me, it clings to me ......
Pain, bitter pain I don't want you, leave me, go away.
Pain, bitter pain why do you hold on to me?
They taught me not to think about pain, they taught me to always find a solution, they taught me to take drugs, ointments and a thousand remedies. They told me to ignore it, to focus on something else, to escape it as if I were to escape from the devil himself".
At some moments in life, the dialogue of a person in pain, such as the one you have just read, may seem familiar to us. Whether it is physical or psychological pain, our culture teaches us to escape it, to seek a remedy at any cost.
Sometimes we abuse drugs, we take too many, but the remedies are remedies, not patches, patches with which to cover those that frighten us.
Modern society does not admit pain, it conceives it as something against nature and this is where the problem begins. We strip the pain of its nature and turn it into an enemy from which we must escape and not something annoying, but natural.
Physical problems have a solution, others do not, in many cases drugs are necessary, in other cases we develop an addiction and some side effects generate more pain than what plagued us before.
And what about psychological problems? Pain of the soul? What needs to be done? In the face of emotional malaise, there is no pill, therapy or remedy that can cure it, and the more we try to escape it, or the less we try to think about it, the stronger it reappears..
To deal with pain, we can opt for escape, that is what modern therapies define as "experiential avoidance syndrome" and which only aggravates the problem by making it chronic, as well as adding other symptoms that pain alone does not entail, such as sadness, anguish, bitterness and discomfort.
This attitude, however, leaves us defenseless. Can't we really do anything about it? Yes we can, we can consider pain not as something against nature, nor as something to escape from, but as a natural thing that is part of life.
This is a different way of seeing pain, that is, looking into it in the eyes, without prejudice, observing it for what it is, without thoughts, with full attention, without judging it, without giving it words or emotions, just looking at it and learning from it, without avoiding it, without escaping it, taking it apart little by little, without pretending to control it.
Ultimately, we must learn that pain is only pain and that the feeling of relief depends solely on how we deal with it, trying to escape it or accepting it as a natural thing in life..
Pain is like a tide, it comes and goes. We must learn to live with it, not with submission, not without defenses, but accepting it and fighting for life in an active way.
To overcome pain, one must not escape, but learn to deal with it, even if in many cases it is difficult or seems impossible. You can learn to live with pain, to enjoy the moment and the other good things in life.
And it is precisely when we divert attention from pain, giving it the right weight, that it seems to hurt less.
"And in the end I learned something thanks to the pain, even if at first I didn't know how to appreciate it, it helped me to grow as a person ... And I matured."
Image courtesy of Leon Chong.